Earlier this year, two gentlemen from Martino Auto Concepts in Glen Cove stripped down a bright yellow 2005 Ferrari F430, covering all but the body in plastic and tape.
Seconds later, John Matos—known better by his artistic persona, “Crash”—circled the sports car while spraying cans of neon pink and green paint, covering his nose and mouth with an industrial gas mask.
In an instant, the roughly $200,000 vehicle suddenly became much more valuable. And it may even be driven off the lot at this year’s Art Southampton—opening on Thursday, July 24, behind the Southampton Elks Lodge—where it will be on display, courtesy Dorian Grey Gallery, with a $500,000 price tag attached.
“We wanted to take something that was already a work of art,” the Manhattan-based gallery’s owner, Christopher Pusey, said last week during a telephone interview, “and elevate it.”
The Ferrari will help mark the entrance to the fair’s 100,000-square-foot tent, where more than 80 international art galleries and 600 artists will be on display during the East End’s youngest art venture yet—coming in on the heels of both ArtHamptons and Art Market Hamptons, which exhibited earlier this month in Bridgehampton.
Entering its third year, Art Southampton is the brainchild of Nick Korniloff, Mike Tansey and Brian Tyler—who own and operate eight international fairs, including 25-year-old Art Miami. Several years ago, the men found themselves approached by local art collectors on the East End.
“They said there is a level of quality not being serviced to collectors,” Mr. Korniloff said last week during a telephone interview. “We did a lot of research, and we found that it was the truth—that there is an under-serviced market here. Our initial goal was to come out and not be competitive with the other fairs but bring a different program than the other fairs.”
Art Southampton will feature several interactive programs, including Art Talks with collector Peggy Hollander, a book signing with photographer Eric Holubow—who recently published a collection of photographs called “Abandoned: America’s Vanishing Landscape”—and even a family program called Art Fairy, as well as hundreds of artists striving to make their mark on the East End.
Painter Suzanne LaFleur, who presented at ArtHamptons two weeks ago, will show in a pair of galleries at Art Southampton: Lawrence Fine Art in East Hampton, and Manhattan-based Hollis Taggart Galleries. As a child, the artist would often pass the Elks Lodge on the way to her native Southampton Village, where she never explored without crayons in hand.
Now living in Harlem, Ms. LaFleur woke up in the middle of the night not long ago, shaken by an image she had to put on canvas. She walked from her apartment to her studio and poured her every emotion into her paintbrush. Covered in paint, three days later, she emerged with “Passion Number 1,” purchased by Amagansett homeowners Miles Wittenstein and Barbara Stoller, who just happened to walk by Ms. LaFleur, seated on a bench outside Golden Pear in Southampton, last week during an interview.
After a brief chat, Ms. LaFleur—who has no problem getting her hands dirty in the name of her art—laughed, “Most people tell me I can’t be an artist, because I look more like a débutante.”
After two decades of splitting her time between Manhattan and abroad, Ms. LaFleur has come home this summer, she said, by way of ArtHamptons and Art Southampton.
“This is my first time showing in my hometown,” Ms. LaFleur said. “So much has changed since I was a little girl. It’s just incredible. It’s really telling us that this is the place to be over the summer.”
Art Southampton will run from Thursday, July 24, through Monday, July 28, on the fairgrounds behind the Southampton Elks Lodge. An opening night preview will kick off the art fair, starting at 6 p.m. for platinum ticket-holders and 7:30 p.m. for VIP ticket-holders. Hours are noon to 8 p.m. on Friday, noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Monday. Apply for VIP status online. A one-day fair pass is $25, $15 for seniors and students age 12 to 18, and free for children under age 12 with an adult. A multi-day pass is $40. For more information, visit art-southampton.com.